Steam Challenge: Lone Survivor

-Welcome to this series where I resolve to play my Steam games backlog! Here are my discoveries!-

Game: Lone Survivor
Time Played: 1.2 hours – Watched the rest on YouTube

I got Lone Survivor as part of a horror bundle last Halloween. It appears to have a pretty strong following, mostly because the nature of the game’s story leaves so much open to interpretation and theory. It’s kinda like the story behind Five Nights at Freddy’s in that it creates more questions than answers.

The Steam site describes the game as this:

An updated and remastered version of the smash-hit psychological survival adventure, made by one man and played by hundreds of thousands!

The masked protagonist must escape from a city ravaged by disease, by any means necessary. Starving and exhausted, he has begun to question how much of what he sees is even real.

That’s pretty accurate.

Don’t let the graphics style fool you, this game is very atmospheric, especially in the use of sound and darkness. Even though the controls are simple, the challenge ramps up as the game progresses. This is mostly because the game always provides a non-violent way past every challenge… but figuring that out is far more difficult than just shooting it in the face. More aggression causes the “You” character’s mental stability to degrade, and leads to one of the “bad” endings.

Lone Survivor strikes me as a combination of psychological horror, survival and puzzle game all rolled into one. The premise is interesting, though the writing (I felt) was somewhat stiff, though not particularly bad. While I could see people start to care about “You” and other characters in the story, plot and atmosphere take the forefront throughout game play.

The plot and endings are pretty confusing, which I feel is on purpose. Few things are ever spelled out, and the endings of the game left me with more questions than answers. That may be the pull of Lone Survivor for some people because there’s a huge Theory page on the wiki where people attempt to fill in the blanks the game left.

For me, however, I recognized in about 40 mins of play time that while I was interested in seeing how the story played out, I wouldn’t have the patience to finish this game. I did push myself to play for over a hour, then I chose to watch the rest of the game on You Tube as a set of Let’s Play videos.

Sure, that’s cheating a little. But as I get older and have less time (and patience) to play games like this, I’m starting to sense when I’d rather just watch a game than play it. I was like that with the Five Nights at Freddy’s series – I will consume videos about those games, and I absolutely love the creepy back story. But I don’t own the games and probably couldn’t play them through… it’s far more fun to be jump-scared with someone else playing it. 🙂

I think if I had suffered through this game all the way to the end (because it’s a stressful game style for me), I would have been pretty disappointed in how vague it turned out. But because I could watch it instead, someone else could be frustrated by it, and I could enjoy it much more than if I were the one being frustrated with it… if that makes sense.

Anyhow, all that aside… I think Lone Survivor is a good game for the right type of gamer. There’s a lot of secrets and side quests to discover. But it’s also brutal in that it doesn’t always let you know that you’re going down the wrong path if you choose the more aggressive way. I know that I probably would have gotten the “bad” ending simply because I didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to kill everything that was trying to kill me. XD


It depends.